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In his Welcome address the Registrar of the Community Health Practitioners Registration Board of Nigeria (CHPRBN), Mr. Bashir Idris, said “All certificates and licenses remain the properties of the board”. he described community health workers (CHWs) as people of the community that work for the community. He praised them for a job well done during the COVID19 Pandemic and other disease out breaks as 85% of work done during the pandemic was by CHWs. “The COVID-19 and the emergence of other public health diseases have highlighted the importance of having a strong and resilient healthcare system that can effectively respond to the needs of our communities.” He said.
In communities, we may not see regular Doctors but community health Practitioners (CHPs) are present in all functioning facilities no matter how rural the community may be.

“Since the inception of the board in 1992, it has been working from a rented apartment but thanks to the support of the federal government, pioneer registrar and previous registrars,” he said.
The board will move into a new building in less than two months as they have succeeded in procuring office accommodation in the Jahi district to make administrative modalities very easy.
speaking further he said, “we have also launched the community health integrated automated cloud (CHIMACS) which will make easier for information saving and retrieval”

The board has also succeeded in diversifying study areas to meets specific and constantly evolving needs of our communities. He sighted poor working conditions, insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, medical supplies and remuneration among other things as challenges encountered by community health workers in the discharge of their functions.
In conclusion he called on all the new inductees to work and act within their jurisdiction as CHWs and not as Doctors they should follow the rules governing their practice at all times. He urged the inductees to serve their various communities with compassion, professionalism and integrity.

The Hon Minister of State for Health Bar Ekumankama Joseph Nkama ably represented by Dr. Atiku Ikayah Sunday in his remarks before the induction thanked all Community Health Workers for their services to Nigerians especially in preventive healthcare and during the pandemic era of Covid-19. He expressed his delight at the ceremony of the new inductees into community health service.
Speaking further he said government will continue to do its part as always. He praised the outgoing administration president Muhammadu Buhari for releasing all health budget one hundred percent 100% since it came on board in 2015 despite the numerous challenges in various sectors. He congratulated the inductees and charged them to be law abiding practitioners.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman, Sule Galadima Toma said history will not forget the role of Community health Practitioners CHPs in eradicating Polio, COVID-19 and many other health pandemics that have reared their ugly faces. Efforts are ongoing to digitalize community health such that there will be CBT entry exams and also systems to store patient’s data.
He called on all persons practicing illegally with fake certificates and licenses to surrender them as the board and other security agencies will soon clamp down on them. He concluded with his famous slogan, think community health, act community health. This is our concern.
The Director of Public Health in his remarks cautioned the new inductees not to overdo themselves beyond their knowledge, “there is no Heroism in Medicine as any mistake or unethical conduct will be appropriately sanctioned” he congratulated them all.
The guest speaker Professor Kehinde Joseph Awosan of Community health department, Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria. Delivered his address on the topic Self-Development for Community Health Practitioners in the 21st century. “Government has a responsibility for the people’s health because it is a fundamental human right. It should be accessible, it should be affordable” he said.
Speaking further he affirmed that Community health is the first point of contact for individuals, families and communities. First point of the continuous health process close to place of work and residence. Community health workers CHWs constitute the majority of the workforce in preventive health care. Once trained in Nigeria you are automatically licensed to practice unlike those who studied abroad and must go through MDCN exams to practice.

Besides Doctors, CHOs are the only cadre of health practitioners allowed to make and write prescriptions. He called on all inductees to have communication skills with both junior and senior staff as well as their patients sighting that it is better to properly attend to a single patient than rush and attend to 15 patients. He charged them to adapt to any environment they are posted to and be self-motivated, they should also have problem-solving skills as well as emotional dissociation skills. Speaking further he said villagers are not rural people but Nigerians in rural areas.

Opportunities in community health are endless as one can never retire. Just like NGOs, Hospitals are quick to recruit CHWs. He called on inductees to increase their knowledge, especially in technology and become computer literate. He called on Government through the Minister of Health present at the event to properly recognize CHWs as professionals and not inferior to any B.Sc. government should also increase access to funding and training of CHWs.

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